New Line Cinema is known as “The House that Freddy Built” because the major success of A Nightmare on Elm Street was a huge boost for their studio and spawned a massive horror franchise that continued to bring financial success. The popularity of the series eventually waned, and New Line set their sights on other lucrative projects in the decades since but have returned in a massive way thanks to the Conjuring franchise. Yet, they seem to have really come full circle with It and It Chapter Two, two halves of a horror story centered around an otherworldly being that uses its victim’s fears as a meat tenderizer before feasting upon their flesh. A description that sounds a lot like fan favorite boogeyman Freddy Krueger, does it not?
Granted, It is an ancient alien creature that precedes civilization. It feasts on human flesh because fear floods the body with the chemical behind fear, therefore making it tasty. Freddy Krueger was a child molester and serial killer in life who returned as a vengeful spirit, drawing strength and power from fear as he slaughtered his victims in their dreams. Krueger is a collector of souls, not flesh. But both It and Krueger are near invincible in their element, and both prey on their victims fears as a means of weakening them.
Every single one of the Losers Club is confronted with their worst fears; guilt over the loss of a brother, parents destroyed in a fire, a repulsive Leper for a germaphobe, a gigantic Paul Bunyan statue, and so on. In A Nightmare on Elm Street, Krueger simply uses scare tactics to gain strength. It’s as the series progresses that he becomes more creative in his dreamscapes and uses fear in a similar way as It. In A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, he uses Taryn’s fear of relapse against her. In A Nightmare on Elm Street 5, he uses Greta’s model aspirations and body image anxieties against her by making her literally eat herself to death. By the next sequel, Freddy’s Dead, Krueger put tongue firmly in cheek by incorporating pop culture into his kills.
2017’s It updated the timeline from Stephen King’s source novel by setting it during the ‘80s. The exact decade from which Freddy Krueger emerged. While It, and its preferred shape of choice Pennywise, often tailored its appearance to align with its victim’s deepest fears, director Andy Muschietti didn’t want to get too meta with New Line’s involvement in the film. Meaning It never took on the appearance of Freddy Krueger – even if it was considered at one point in time. But that doesn’t mean visual references didn’t sneak in, in other ways.
There’s the easy to spot Easter eggs, like A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 appearing on the Derry theater marquee during the summer of 1989, or the movie posters. There are also the advanced level Easter eggs. Pointed out by eagle-eyed writer B.J. Colangelo, adult Richie Tozier (Bill Hader) is sporting a shirt that looks an awful lot like the shirt Jesse (Mark Patton) wore in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge during that iconic dance scene. Considering Richie’s main arc in It Chapter Two, the similarity is likely not a coincidence.
New Line’s connection to Krueger as well as the time period may have made it easy to insert the Easter eggs, but It’s connection to A Nightmare on Elm Street runs deeper; the timeless nature of fear. Horror is designed to scare and frighten, and the two entities at the center of these movies are essentially fear personified. Evil beings that can manipulate perception and bend the rules of physics to create terror incarnate. Whatever you dream, It and Freddy Krueger can conjure it up in nightmarish form. There’s no limit to their creativity. And that makes for visually exciting horror films, as the Elm Street and It movies have proven decades apart.
Freddy built the house, and you could say Pennywise is doing him proud.
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Author : Meagan Navarro
Publish date : 2019-09-12 20:09:21